What is DSA?
UK home students with a disability or impairment including specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia are usually eligible for a Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA). This is a government funded scheme which can pay for any support that you might need to ensure you are not disadvantaged during your studies. It is not means tested and is meant to help you fully participate and benefit from your course.
All support is recommended on an individual basis according to what you need and you are fully involved with this process. The recommendations are made in a Needs Assessment. Please see the documents below and visit our Assessment Centre page to find out more about this process.
All support is recommended following discussion with you about how your disability affects you. This means that the support students can receive varies greatly. In your Needs Assessment report recommendations are split into 4 sections. Below are some examples of what may be provided.
Type of Support
|Maximum amount Assessors can recommend up to (please note this does not mean every student will receive support equal to the full funds available as recommendations are made according to individual need)|||
(Items are recommended according to individual need)
|||Full time||Part time|||
|Specialist equipment and software||£5,161 for entire course||£5,161 for entire course|
Assistive software such as screen reading software, mind mapping, text to speech and speech to text software, radio aid and scanning software.
|Non-medical helpers allowance||£20,520 a year||£15,390 a year (depends on intensity of course)|
Specialist 1:1 tuition
Assistive technology tuition
|General Allowance||£1,724 a year||£1,293 a year (depends on intensity of course)||You can claim reimbursement for the cost of consumables such as ink, photocopying, printing and paper|
|Travel allowance||Depends on location and frequency of use||Depends on location and frequency of use||If you are unable to use public transport as a direct result of your disability you can claim the cost of taxi fares back from your DSA.|
How to apply
You can apply for a DSA before or during your course although we recommend that you do so as soon as possible as it can take some time to get everything in place.
In order to apply for a DSA you will need to provide evidence of your condition. In the case of dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties this should be a Psychologist's report conducted after you were 16 years of age. For other impairments and disabilities a letter from your GP, consultant or other medical professional should be sufficient. Please make an appointment to see a Disability Advisor who can discuss with you the most appropriate evidence for you to provide depending on your diagnosis and look at the information on our FAQs.
You will need to complete a DSA1 form as your part of the application process. If you are applying for student finance there is a section on these application forms which asks you if you want to apply for a DSA. If you tick this box you will automatically be sent the DSA1 form. Alternatively, you can apply directly using the links on the right. Who you apply to for a DSA depends on your home address (the same as your application for general funding):
If your home address is in:
England: you will need to apply to Student Finance England (SFE)
Wales: you will need to apply to your local authority via Student Finance Wales
Scotland: You will need to apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS)
Northern Ireland: you will need to apply to Student Finance NI
If you are receiving an NHS bursary they are classed as your funding body and will administer any DSA applications.
If you are not a UK home funded student or are on a short course you will not normally be eligible for a DSA. Please contact the Disability Service as soon as possible to discuss alternative ways of accessing support.